Kun­ming be­comes 3-day visa-free city

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By GUO ANFEI in Kun­ming and HU YONGQI in Bei­jing

Kun­ming, the cap­i­tal of Yun­nan province, is to launch a 72-hour visa-free pol­icy for tran­sit pas­sen­gers from 51 coun­tries, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said on Thurs­day.

The tourism venue will be­come the eighth Chi­nese city to of­fer such a ser­vice, fol­low­ing those such as Bei­jing and Shang­hai. The move is aimed at boost­ing in­come from tourism.

The pol­icy has also been im­ple­mented in Chongqing; Guangzhou, in Guang­dong province; Chengdu, in Sichuan; and Shenyang and Dalian in Liaon­ing. Guilin, in the Guangxi Zhuang au­tonomous re­gion, is ex­pected to in­tro­duce the pol­icy soon.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties said the 72-hour visa-free pol­icy, rat­i­fied by the Yun­nan De­part­ment of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity, will be ap­proved by the Min­istry of Pub­lic Se­cu­rity.

Vis­i­tors from 37 Euro­pean coun­tries, six in the Amer­i­cas, six in Asia and two in Ocea­nia will ben­e­fit from the new pol­icy.

They will be able to stay in the city of Kun­ming for up to 72 hours, begin­ning from mid­night on the day of ar­rival.

Xu Xinyu, deputy direc­tor of the work­ing de­part­ment at Yun­nan Air­port Group, which con­trols Kun­ming Chang­shui In­ter­na­tional Air­port, said Yun­nan has di­rect flights to South Korea, Ja­pan, Sin­ga­pore and the United Arab Emi­rates, which are all on the visa-free list.

Wang Jun, deputy direc­tor of the Kun­ming Tourism Devel­op­ment Com­mis­sion, said star-rated tourism sites, ho­tels and travel agen­cies have drawn up plans for one- to three-day travel in the city and in­for­ma­tion is pro­vided in brochures at Kun­ming air­port.

Last year, the city re­ceived 56 mil­lion do­mes­tic and for­eign vis­i­tors, a year-on-year in­crease of 19 per­cent, Wang said. Of these, 1.23 mil­lion in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors spent $403 mil­lion.

Kun­ming air­port is work­ing with cus­toms au­thor­i­ties, border de­fense po­lice and the in­spec­tion and quar­an­tine au­thor­i­ties to pro­vide a spe­cial gate­way to in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors if they need to stay in the city for up to three days.

How­ever, travel agen­cies are not overly op­ti­mistic about the new pol­icy be­cause of the small num­ber of in­ter­na­tional en­ter­prises in Kun­ming.

Liu Jian­min, gen­eral man­ager of Yun­nan Air­lines In­ter­na­tional Travel Ser­vice, said the pol­icy would be a stim­u­lus for the lo­cal tourism mar­ket. Con­tact the writ­ers at guoy­an­fei@chi­nadaily.com.cn and huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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